Barely a week after a Winnipeg daycare was left without transportation due to damage caused by gasoline thieves, another local organization has had a vehicle targeted.
Will Belford of Peg City Car Co-op, a membership-based car-sharing group, said one of his vehicles had its gas siphoned recently using a similar method – puncturing the gas tank.
“Just this past week, we had a member visit one of our vehicles, and when they arrived, they discovered some melted snow around the side of the car, and they smelled the aroma of gas,” Belford told 680 CJOB.
“They hopped in, they went to start it, and it started fine … but they noticed the fuel tank was bone dry.”
Belford said the member was quickly assigned to another vehicle while Peg City staff stopped by the empty car to inspect. A staff member found two small holes drilled into the fuel tank — a good sign the gas had been siphoned.
“We’ve been at it for 10 years, so pretty much everything under the sun has happened sooner or later, but this is a first for us.
“It was pretty clear (it had been siphoned) — we were lucky, we work with some pretty great shops here in Winnipeg. We brought it to our mechanic and they got us patched up real fast … the car was only out of service for about 20 hours in all.”
Although this hasn’t happened to the co-op before, Belford said these kinds of incidents are considered part of the cost of doing business.
And while his vehicle, like the daycare’s vans, was left parked for an amount of time when the theft occurred, he doesn’t think Peg City’s fleet is being targeted.
“I can only speculate who or why they would’ve done it, of course the cost of gas is pretty clearly going up.
“I think any vehicle that’s on the street is just as susceptible as any other when we’re talking about a crime of opportunity such as this.”
Despite the incident, Belford says the co-op isn’t looking to implement any new policies to prevent this in the future. They’re in the process, he said, of adding hybrid vehicles to the fleet “just as fast as we can” to help offset the rising gas prices.
Last week, Winnipeg police said this type of theft is something the service is monitoring, but it wasn’t widespread enough to be considered a trend.
Police encourage vehicle owners — whenever possible — to park their vehicles in a garage, or in a well-lit area, and check them from time to time to prevent this type of theft.